A technology-push within Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and an application-pull from companies, focusing on the customization of products has led to an emerging transformation within manufacturing (Lasi et al., 2014). In the literature this transformation is normally referred to as ‘Industry 4.0’ (Keller et al., 2014). An agenda of Industry 4.0 is already dominating the industrial discussions across European countries and most of the Western World (Weyer et al., 2015). Both in practice and academia, there is a strong focus on the technologies driving the changes, e.g., further mechanization and automation, digitalization and networking, and miniaturization (e.g., smaller computers) (Lasi et al., 2014). But, the implementation of Industry 4.0 fundamental changes the prerequisites for future industrial production leading to a new situation (Kagermann, Wahlster and Helbig, 2013).
Embedded in Industry 4.0 there is the a need to work across disciplines and integrate different technical and commercial perspectives (Kagermann, Wahlster and Helbig, 2013). This will accordingly affect how the different groups of engineers and technicians should act and collaborate, and eventually how they should perceive the situation. Consequently, future engineers and technicians must adopt a new world-view to fully exploit the potentials of new manufacturing and industry technologies. Adopting the term from Kuhn (1996), future engineers and technicians need to form a new ‘super-paradigm’, capable of containing the opportunities but also the complexity and ambiguity of Industry 4.0. Today many educational activities are taking place within isolated technical disciplines/domains but is lacking the cross-disciplinary approach. The Industry 4.0 agenda calls for a cross disciplinary mindset of the future candidates coming out of higher education (Kagermann, Wahlster and Helbig, 2013).
(Organization and) Objectives:
This project will build on a strategic partnership between [four] educational institutions across Europe, focusing on the cross disciplinary education of engineers and technicians connected to Industry 4.0 (e.g. within: Computer Science, Automation, Control and Regulation, Design, Operations etc.). The partners represent different: levels of educations, type of educational programmes/courses, and experiences with cross disciplinary education of engineers and technicians.
The main objectives of this project are two-folded. The first objective is to update/develop new educational plans for the educational programmes/courses at the partnering educational institutions. The aim is to ensure that the content of the educational programmes/courses are aligned with the future needs for ‘Industry 4.0’ capabilities in industry. The second objective is to identify and test new tools and teaching approaches, e.g., digital technologies, case-based teaching, and various forms of collaboration across the different technical domains. The teaching approaches should support and stimulate the candidates’ ability to develop an understanding of their future role in Industry 4.0, based on their technical domain. During the project, the partners will share their best practices in the field and build upon these. To ensure the long-term sustainability and adoption of the teaching material and approaches, the project will arrange seminars for teachers/educators/faculties from the partnering institutions during the project period. Furthermore, the consortium will develop partnerships with relevant industrial partners to ensure the relevance and industrial impact of the educational activities.
The European industry have experienced a relocation of manufacturing towards low-wage countries, primary outside Europe the last decade. The opportunities embedded in Industry 4.0 offers a way to overcome the paradox between economic of scale in the production and the demand from customers of individualizing of the products, along with an increased focus on planning and value creating (Keller et al., 2014). However, the European industry will have a demand for skilled labor at various levels if they are to stay competitive in the transformation towards Industry 4.0. (elaborate with EU priorities )
First of all, the project will strengthen the educational activities within Industry 4.0 at the partnering institutions. Students and graduates will be more capable to work across domains in an Industry 4.0 context. Teachers and faculty from the institutions will be trained to work with the developed approaches and materials ensuring successful implementation of the activities into the educational system. Industrial partners will be invited to join the project. Not only to ensure relevance of the educational activities but also to engage in a formalized dialogue of the future needs for competences in their organizations.
Through the national initiatives like Manufacturing Academy of Denmark, (+ national associations in partnering countries) the results of the project will be disseminated to a wider range of relevant partners – primarily within higher education. The project will arrange national seminars where teachers/faculty/others will be invited to learn from the project results.
Partners and Roles
The capabilities for Industry 4.0 must be trained and taught at the different levels in the educational system. This project will focus on higher education at universities and university colleges with a technical profile. The project will build on existing experiences and educational programmes/courses at the different partners in the consortium. The partners are:
University College of Northern Denmark (UCN), (Denmark)